Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Mr. Wazobia marks birthday with less privileged

Popular radio presenter with Wazobia FM, Steve Onu, otherwise known as Yaw, will today mark his birthday in Lagos. I know what’s running in your mind –– party? Well, the Anambra State born comic merchant is not in for any gig; he would be celebrating the day with children of Down Syndrome Association of Nigeria.
Billed to kick off at 2pm in the home located on Ogunlana Drive, Surulere, top Nigerian showbiz personalities such as ace comedian Alibaba; Koffi; Yori Yori singers, Bracket; J Martins; Yemi Sax; Owen Gee; and African China among others, are expected to join the Lagos State University Theatre Arts graduate to make the day a memorable one for children of the home and the celebrant. “This is my own way of giving back to the society, and I’m using this opportunity to call on my fans to come around and celebrate with me. Please, don’t come empty-handed; buy a gift for the children no matter how small. This is an opportunity to show them how special they are; we need to show them some love.” ON the choice of the less privileged home for his birthday bash, Yaw says, “I could have gathered friends in a choice club in Lagos, party and merry together. But there’s a point in ones life that you need to think the other way. I actually started this last year and I’ve taken it as my own style. We are privileged today in the society, but what about these children? For me, this is a way of reaching out to them, showing them some love; my friends and fans will join me to that there.” However, Yaw’s initial plan was to mark the day with the blind, but fate changed the gig to the current venue. “I actually wanted to do something for the blind, but I learnt the schools are on holiday. I’ve heard about this home (Down Syndrome), so, I decided to visit them. By next year, it would be another home, just like I did for the Little Saints Orphanage last year.” It would be recalled that artistes such as Julius Awgu, Chidi Muokeme, Kate Henshaw-Nutall, Tuface Idibia, D’Banj, I Do Gye and others are also involved in charity works these days. “I think they are beginning to understand the law of giving; blessed is the hand that gives than the one that takes. I think it’s good for the society and you don’t expect government to do that too,” Yaw says. IS there any possibility of adopting any of these kids? “Of course, why not,” he quizzes. “But that is if I will be around to give all my love and attention; Yaw is a very busy man.” So, any plans of settling down soon? “Well, I will get married when it’s time.” You grew up where? BORN in Lagos and grew up partly in Lawanson and Iyana Ipaja, both in Lagos; Yaw was greatly influence by his Mum. “My Mama beats a living daylight out of me –– really! Everytime I’m on radio talking about my mother, people keep asking me, ‘what about your Dad?’ For me with my Mum, it wasn’t easy. All through my growing up, I was a very stubborn person. I have this Dad that is like, “stop beating them, leave them alone, do you want to wound them? It’s not as if he never flogged us… he did, but he was not like my Mum. I keep telling everybody that, if not for my Mum, if not for all the flogging, only God knows where I for dey today. I believe that was what shaped me. My Dad is alive, he’s in Lagos and I go to see him every now and then. But My Mum… that woman beat daylight out of me and na wetin make me be beta human being today; that’s why I always talk about my Mum.” For those, who brand Yaw a stand up comedian, hear him out: “You know there are different types of comedy, but once you mention comedy here, everybody thinks of a stand-up comedian. There are TV comedians, commercial comedians, stage comedians… we’ve got different types of comedians. But for me, I will classify myself into a TV/radio comedian; I’m more into that than stand-up comedy.” ASIDE his job as a presenter, Yaw had featured in different TV productions. “I did Twilight Zone, I did Flat Mates–– those were the ones people see constantly. But I also featured in Fuji House of Commotion, Extended Family, Dear Mother… e be like say na de one wey I fit remember be dat. Now, I’m on radio.” Have you heard how Yaw got into Wazobia FM? Well, in case you haven’t, this is the real gist. “I actually came to the premises with Bunmi Davies, the Comedy Zone guy. He wanted to see Ibrahim (a staff of the company) and I just came with him. When we got here, Ibrahim was telling Bunmi that they were about to open a radio station and that it was going to be pidgin, that if he had a contact, they would want to do something with him. Then, I was doing Story Story Verses From The Market, a radio drama produced by BBC. So, when we were going, I pulled Bunmi to a corner and said, ‘Bunmi, I for like come do this work oh, but dat one na if dem go give me chance to still dey do some other things like my MC, going to studio and other things. And he said, ‘ok, try it out now, talk to Ibrahim. After adapting a friend’s CV, which he submitted to the broadcasting station, Yaw was invited for an audition/interview. “The day I came for the screening… I never come for interview befor oh! I was in a shirt with folded hands, jeans, and cap… I was looking yeah men. When I got to the reception, I saw others with shirt and tie, suit and I told myself, ‘men, I don fall my hand, dem no go giv me dis job. See, as they are all dressed.’ But finally, they chose me out of all the people in suit”. MANAGING his fame was never an easy task for the Theatre Arts practitioner, who recently staged his first production at MUSON Centre, Lagos. “My brother, I can’t hide. Even when I talk, people recognise my voice. I’m a very shy person, so, when they call me, I will just signal, so as, not to alert people. There was a day I wanted to buy fried yam and akara and someone insulted me saying, ‘na so hunger catch you reach.’ And I asked him, ‘you wey dey buy am, you no be human being?’ But I went home that day and I was asking myself, ‘which kin life be dis, which means I no fit be me.’ There are some people who appreciate you, but some of them will see you and say, ‘hey, Yaw, I be your fan, buy me drink, cos I dey listen to you.’ Can you imagine? I’m making you happy and you still expect me to buy you drinks? That’s the kind of thing you get from some people.”

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